The UK strengthens its climate targets by committing to reaching “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050.

Particularly pertinent given the first of London Climate Change Action week, (1st-8th July) the UK has recently strengthened its climate targets by committing to reaching “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050.

The government will legislate for the new legal target to be hit by the middle of the century. The commitment means Britain is the first G7 nation to set such a goal.

At Breathe, we are passionate about this issue and are focusing on reducing client’s carbon footprint across the public and private sector, to tackle the global push against climate change. Adopting a smart approach to our buildings and particularly examining and improving infrastructure.

Working collaboratively with the government and our clients we are switching tired, deteriorated and inefficient energy systems to upgraded modern and renewable sources. These include using new combined heat and power plants (CHP), district heating systems, ground source heat pumps (GSHP) and increasing the use of systems such as solar panels. In light of ongoing grid electricity de-carbonisation we are focused on the viability of GSHP applied to retrofit that can accommodate the operational temperatures of the existing heating and hot water. We are exploring the trade-off between CO2 reduction and accessibility to funding, plus the economic returns compared  with alternatives such as CHP.

Underpinning these new systems is the use of SMART grid management and maintenance to drive efficiency and keep costs down by reducing the need for human interference with regular checks or call outs. If the systems are SMART they can be proactive and alert owners to issues and tackle them with immediate fixes. The technology can also audit itself, turning off or on when needed to again avoid unnecessary consumption. Our Breathe Connect service tackles this, tracking data from monitoring devices and translating that into real time fixes or efficiencies.

Our work with Cardiff University is a stand-out example of the long-term financial savings and environmental benefits that can be delivered. A £16m energy upgrade project, it is undergoing an energy performance overhaul of 220,000m2 of 73 academic buildings at the University, including a £5m tower block fabric upgrade. The project is underpinned by Cardiff University’s commitment to improving its carbon footprint and is being funded by the Welsh Government Green Growth Fund.

As professionals in our industry, we need to work collaboratively with the Government to align with these reforms that will ensure they meet the UK’s plans to decarbonise the energy system and encourage flexibility in the market whilst not having a negative impact on consumers or viability for commercial projects.